Handing Around Punishments
"Let us be clear. Those using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing."From expressing "grave concerns" related to the horribly deteriorating situation in Syria to finally stating that Washington and Moscow no longer have anything in common in that barbarous theatre of bloody assaults, Washington has suspended peace negotiations with Moscow, finally. Any self-respecting administration would eventually realize that being led around by the nose works to the detriment of plans they hope to see in place, and to the advantage of the side that has no intention whatever of suspending assaults.
"They [Russia] know they are committing war crimes."
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary general
"If these are not war crimes, what are war crimes?"
Francois Delattre, French UN Ambassador
"The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the cessation of hostilities."
"This is not a decision that was taken lightly."
US State Department spokesperson John Kirby
"Washington simply did not fulfill the key condition of the agreement to improve the humanitarian condition around Aleppo."
"After failing to fulfill the agreements that they themselves worked out, they are trying to shift responsibility on to someone else."
"In the past few days [Russia had] taken efforts aimed at fulfilling [the ceasefire deal]."
"It all essentially came down to a simple question - who are Jabhat al-Nusra, who is behind them, and why can't Washington fulfill its promise to divide the terrorists from the so-called moderate opposition."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
"We would like to bring Washington back to understanding that it can't introduce sanctions against us in areas where it's quite painless for the Americans, and at the same time continue selective cooperation in areas it sees as advantageous."
Russian Foreign Ministry
"[The U.S. should also] renounce its unfriendly policies [by revoking anti-Russian sanctions and compensating Russia for the damage incurred by them and by] putting forward a clear plan for the irreversible disposal of the weapons-grade plutonium in line with the agreement."
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin
So the delivery of humanitarian aid to the starving quarter-million residents of eastern Aleppo remains aspirational, not to be fulfilled in the lifetime of the city under siege and its desperate inhabitants. And Russian warplanes aiding Syrian assault jets will continue to wreak havoc to ensure that the civilians they bomb from day to day, will no longer have hospitals to be carried to, and medical personnel to tend to their grievous wounds, since the hospitals have now been deliberately destroyed, and the medical personnel need the aid of other medical personnel, nowhere to be seen.
|The M10 hospital has repeatedly been hit by air strikes over the past week [Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters]|
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart, Lavrov in preparation of suspending diplomatic engagements "unless Russia takes immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo and restore a ceasefire", but he was speaking into the wind, and none of the words and their implications reached the ears of the disinterested and disengaged Lavrov, on orders from the Kremlin to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to any complaints from that source.
Whatever pains civilized nations as witness to the outrage in Syria appears to please the implacable Vladimir Putin for whom revenge is sweet vengeance served steaming hot in the guise of a bloodbath of men, women and children all accused of harbouring "terrorists" among them. So much for the West, for NATO, for the United States protesting against eastern Europe under Russian threat, and the reabsorption of Crimea leading to crippling sanctions imposed on Russia.
Every action has a reaction, and this is Putin's; a complex vengeance that destroys the lives of people in the Middle East whom the humanitarian impulses of the West decry because they fail to understand that any faction in a country, even if they represent an ill-treated majority, are never to become a threat to the stability of a reigning administration; if it happens in Syria, it could happen in Russia, and is simply unthinkable.